The Gamification of Education: Why Online Social Games May Be Poised to Replace Textbooks in Schools

By Cohen, Aaron M. | The Futurist, September-October 2011 | Go to article overview

The Gamification of Education: Why Online Social Games May Be Poised to Replace Textbooks in Schools


Cohen, Aaron M., The Futurist


The world has entered a bright new technology-driven era, yet the education system remains rooted in a gray industrial past. At least, this is the argument that a growing number of education professionals are making.

One idea for reform that is steadily gaining popularity involves moving learning almost entirely online and declaring textbooks more or less obsolete. Some suggest taking Web-based learning one step further: Online social gaming may become the educational tool of choice.

While traditional education proponents may be quick to dismiss computer games as inconsequential, others argue that a strong precedent for independently motivated online game-based learning has already been established. Examples include PBS KIDS's interactive whiteboard games, which teach basic subjects to very young children, and the Learning Company's hugely popular historical learning game, The Oregon Trail.

Advocates for gaming in education also point to professional training situations where games are increasingly replacing lectures and presentations. Further afield, Jane McGonigal, the director of game research and development at the Institute for the Future, has designed award-winning games to help ignite real-world solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges, such as global food security and a shift to renewable energy.

In their book, A New Culture of Learning (CreateSpace, 2011), Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown argue that curiosity, imagination, and a sense of play--three aspects integral to learning--are largely missing from the traditional textbook-and-test based education system. What's more, the authors point out, these are all present in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like World of War-craft.

In Thomas and Brown's view, such games "are almost perfect illustrations of a new learning environment." In the social gaming world, "learning happens on a continuous basis because the participants are internally motivated to find, share, and filter new information on a near-constant basis," they write. Unlike midterms and final exams, games associate learning with fun and allow for trial and error (basically, the freedom to make mistakes). They can also encourage exploration, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas while removing unwanted pressures that can interfere with students' abilities.

Thomas and Brown further point out that players must do a great deal of reading and research (typically on blogs, wikis, and forums) in order to complete quests in MMORPGs. In other words, well-designed games can also motivate kids to read, the authors believe.

Already, one well-funded experimental New York City public charter school, Quest to Learn (Q2L), has practically eliminated textbook-based learning and largely replaced it with game-based learning. (A sister school, ChicagoQuest, is scheduled to open in September 2011. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Gamification of Education: Why Online Social Games May Be Poised to Replace Textbooks in Schools
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.